Role of Relationship Norms in Processing Brand Information Journal Article Review

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The journal article, Role of Relationship Norms in Processing Brand Information by Pankaj Aggarwal and Sharmistha Law, two types of relationships are examined. The first is the communal relationship, “in which concern for a partner’s need is paramount” (Aggarwal & Law, 2005) and the exchange relationship in which “a matched benefit is expected back from the partner.

This study explored the relationship between business partners as being an exchange relationship and family members and friends as communal.
In the first study out of three, is about near versus far product extensions. To easily describe what is meant by this, the researchers compared a chair and furniture. A chair is easily accessed and has the greatest amount of feature-related information. Furniture is going from a specific item to a general level. The study was trying to show that depending on the context, consumers have been found to use product features at different levels of abstraction.

The first hypothesis in the first study was, “Compared to a communal relationship, when the norms of an exchange relationship are salient people evaluate far extensions of a product poorly relative to near extensions” (Aggarwal & Law, 2005).

The method for this study was using 64 undergraduate students for the 15 minute study. In the study they tested communal and exchange relationship norms purely as contextual constructs an examine their influence on a subsequent, unrelated decision test.

Participants read a brief description of the interaction with another person intended to manipulate one of the two relationships. The exchange relationship scenario used phrases such as “keep things even,” “return favors as early as possible,” and “expect to reciprocate.” In the C. Cox Page 2

communal relationship, the phrases were “is there whenever they need her,” “does things to show she cares,” and “expects friends to be there for her”. Participants then had to answer an open-ended question that made them assume the role of the person described in the scenario and decide how to split a lunch bill with a friend.

The result of this first study showed that the “norms of relationship moderate to the degree to which far product extensions are seen as similar to the original product, as revealed by the differences in the evaluations of the product extensions across communal and exchange relationships” (Aggarwal & Law, 2005). The findings suggest “the salience of communal relationship norms are more likely than exchange relationship norms to lead to brand information being processed at a higher level of abstraction” (Aggarwal & Law, 2005).

The second study was about measuring memory for brand information at different levels of abstraction. The purpose of this study was to prove if people in both relationships were presented with abstract as well as more specific (or concrete) information about a brand, individuals in a communal relationship condition would encode the abstract information, whereas those in an exchange relationship would attend relatively more to the concrete brand information.

The hypothesis for the second study is separated into three parts. The first is “relative to participants in the communal condition, those in the exchange condition will show higher recognition rates for correct concrete brand information and lower rates of acceptance of incorrect concrete brand information”, the second, “Relative to participants in the communal condition, those in the exchange condition would respond more slowly when correctly identifying abstract brand information”, and “Relative to participants in the communal condition, C. Cox Page 3

those in the exchange condition would respond more slowly when identifying plausible inferences” (Aggarwal & Law, 2005).
The study had 56 undergraduate students. Participants were presented with one of the two relationships, the same statements as the previous study and a 12-item questionnaire. Participants were asked to...
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